(299c) RO/NF Applications in Brackish Groundwater Desalination: Membrane Characterization | AIChE

(299c) RO/NF Applications in Brackish Groundwater Desalination: Membrane Characterization


Vaseghi, G. - Presenter, New Mexico State University
Ghassemi, A., New Mexico State University
Loya, J., New Mexico State University,Institute for Energy and the Environment/WERC

Millions of people in the world suffer from the lack of potable and safe water. Water problem is practically the most important global issue nowadays, mainly because of decreasing fresh water resources and continuous deterioration of the quality of available resources. Water sources include oceans, brackish waters, and wastewaters. In the most arid and semi-arid regions of the USA such as New Mexico, California, Arizona, and Colorado, brackish water is an important source of feed water, and its most common quality problems are caused by suspended solids and hardness. Since desalination technologies are expensive, water shortage and scarcity pose significant threats for developing countries. Consequently, there is high interest in reducing the costs of water desalination.

Processes of desalination, or removing salt from water, include thermal processes, such as Distillation, and membrane processes, such as Reverse Osmosis (RO) or Electrodialysis (ED). Reverse Osmosis (RO) is one of the technologies used for desalinating brackish and saline waters to provide drinking water. RO treatment plants use semipermeable membranes and pressure to separate salts from water. They typically use less energy than thermal distillation, leading to a reduction in overall desalination costs, and allowing new brackish groundwater desalination facilities to use RO technology much more economically than distillation. Hence, this study improves the benefits of using RO by reducing the cost, time, and energy spending to find the best approach for different conditions. It focuses on the characterization of different types of membranes used in RO systems by testing effects of Temperature, pH, Conductivity, and Recovery on product. The objectives are accomplished by utilizing pilot plant experiments. A huge database collected from a full pilot-scale system, located at the Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility (BGNDRF) in Alamogordo, and operated by New Mexico State University are analyzed.